When we were small you pushed my Radio Flyer down the hill. It landed in the brook, dented and wheels up. I dragged that broken thing around until it fell apart. Should have guessed then what you would do to my heart.
He only cooks when he’s angry. Seared scallops. Chicken, breaded and pan-fried. Anything that sizzles, to drown out my excuses.
Tonight it’s steak, blackened, medium-rare. He serves it up in silence and I eat. Each mouthful tastes like ash. Each bite burns.
For nine days I have counted the bells – Midnight, Matins, Sext and Vespers – snatching sleep in the stillness between the peals. I placed my faith in their music to call you home to me. Every six hours another bell, another unanswered prayer.
Bird in my hand, I see you struggle, beating your wings against the bars of my fingers. I leave no bruises, break no bones. Your heart pounds against my palm. You don’t sing a note, but I know: I have already won.
Don’t get me wrong. I would never give up an ounce of what I have. But: I will never fly in space. Never inspire kingdoms to rise. Never bear that ring. I have only this one life, and I want them all.